Aug. 23, 2016

Free to Be

I am the youngest of four children. The child that came immediately before me was quite challenging. She was a beautiful, creative soul that was searching for a place to be herself and be accepted for being just who she was meant to be. While all that sounds lovely and spiritual, following in her footsteps forced me to sacrifice, along with the other members of our family, as we attempted to help her find her way.

She took all of us on a wild ride. Looking back, it is both sad and funny. She was truly a hippy and definitely stepped over the lines of what is “acceptable” quite a few times. Most especially in a small Texas city called, “Deer Park.” When something would happen that involved me, my stuff, or my life, my mother would hug me and whisper over and over again, “Blessed are the peacemakers….blessed are the peacemakers…Blessed are the peacemakers.” It was her way of trying to comfort me and teach me that life is not fair, but God is always sovereign.

I suspect I resented the words encouraging me to be a peacemaker; not because my mother was saying them to me, but because I wanted to scream, “I matter, too!” Funny thing about peacemaking, it really never says we don’t matter, it simply says peace matters more.

My mother had me pegged from the very beginning. I would live a life attempting to find peace even if it takes an argument to achieve it. We can no longer live in pride and resentment. It is killing us. All around the world, haughty and selfish attitudes are destroying the innocent. It is time for peace.

The bible teaches us that there is a time for peace. We have certainly had more than our fair share of war. It is time for peace. What needs to happen for peace to become a reality? First, we must humble ourselves. We’ve mistaken humbling ourselves with prayers like, “God our country and world is just so bad. I don’t know how You love us, but You do. I am asking You to forgive “us” (really meaning “them”). Or, “Lord, heal our land just as long as it looks like what I think it should look like when You’re done.” Or, “I humbly ask, Lord, that You do things my way so that I can experience peace. Thank You. Amen.”

Here is a true peace-driven prayer:

Lord, none of us are right in every circumstance. You are. Lord, we are not perfect even though we love to pretend to be. You are. Lord, we harbor hate in our hearts for those different from us and have harbored it for so long that it has grown on us. Our hatred is our new normal and it angers us when someone calls hate “hate.” Father, we need Your peace. We need lasting peace. We need to love others all across the world more than we love ourselves. We need to care about all children. We need to care about anyone who is hungry. We need to care about everyone who is struggling. We need to care because Jesus mirrored a life of compassion and asked us to follow Him. The most powerful prayer we can pray right now at this point in our history is for You to teach us how to care and what to do when we understand the need to care. Mercy and compassion foster peace. Judging and hate promote war. Lord, You made it very clear when You said, “Blessed are the peacemakers for THEY shall be called the Children of God. Daddy, help us. Amen.”